The implementation of "Vision Industrie 4.0" is still in its infancy. "Suppliers and users in Germany now have the opportunity to actively influence the direction of development," is the slogan on the Industry 4.0 platform.
The web site www.plattform-i40.de was launched by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and energy and launched by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The following text is from the i40 platform and has been slightly modified by us to bring you Industry 4.0 as easy as possible. We deliberately chose the version in easy language to make this topic as tangible as possible.
What is Industry 4.0 in a simple language?
Industry is the upper term for all companies that produce products, such as cars, household appliances or computers. There was in the production of products many technical advances in the last 250 years, products could be made faster and often better with the help of technology. Very large technical advances in the industry are called industrial revolution.
This means that the production of products has changed very much. It also affects the whole society. For example, the work of people in factories is changing and there are more products that all people can buy.
During the 1. Industrial Revolution For example, the invention of the steam engine was very important. This allowed new machines to be used in the factories. They were more powerful than machines powered by man's muscle power. In the 2. Industrial Revolution the assembly line was invented. Products could be produced much faster and therefore became cheaper. The 3. Industrial Revolution began in the 1970s: computers and robots have since been used in industry. Many products are thereby produced fully automatically.
In the industry now the 4. Industrial Revolution starts. The production of products is changing through intelligent factories. This new way of manufacturing products is also called Industry 4.0.
What is an intelligent factory in simple language?
There are several steps involved in producing a product:
- An enterprise invents a product.
- Customers order the product. They have different wishes and ideas. For example, they order a car that has a very specific equipment.
- Companies produce the product. For this they need, among other things, labor, machinery and also raw materials. Raw materials are for example steel or wood.
- Companies sometimes need finished parts to make their product. You order this from other companies. For example, individual auto parts are made in China. The car is assembled but in a German operation.
- Logistics is also very important in manufacturing. This is the supply of raw materials, parts of a product or the finished product. If, for example, the raw materials are not delivered, the company can not manufacture and sell its products.
In an intelligent factory, these individual steps are better connected. For example:
- Customers can order a product via the Internet at one operation. They can change the product so that it meets their wishes. There is no longer the same product for all customers. But the product can be different for each customer.
- Companies are constantly talking to each other about the product. For example through the machines in the factories that produce the product. They always know which parts and raw materials they need. And how long the delivery time is. You can order the parts and raw materials completely independently and automatically.
- The logistics can be organized better and faster. Then there are always the right parts in the factory. Companies lose no time during production. And they save space in the factory because, for example, construction parts do not need to be stored in stock.
What is different in light language by Industry 4.0?
In the future, companies will be able to respond much better than before to the personal wishes of their customers. They produce unique products for their customers, but the cost of manufacturing does not increase. Thanks to the latest computer technology:
Machines and products can connect and exchange at any time. Machines know what they should do and are able to produce products on their own. They also automatically adjust to changes and independently decide what they need to do, such as when a resource is scarce.
People no longer have to spend too much time planning and managing the production of a product. This is now done by the machines in the intelligent factories. This saves time and money and the wishes of the customers can always be better fulfilled.
What is the platform Industrie 4.0 in easy language?
Much needs to be done to make Industry 4.0 successful. For example, these questions are important:
- How is the work of people changing through the intelligent factory?
- And how can you plan and design this work well?
- How can you protect data and information exchanged by smart factories?
- What opportunities does Industry 4.0 offer for the employment market?
- What skills do professionals need in Industry 4.0?
- What should companies consider who would like to participate in Industry 4.0?
- What common rules should there be for Industry 4.0?
With the Platform Industry 4.0, answers to these questions should be found. For this, experts work together in working groups. The experts come, for example, from business, science and trade unions. Together with representatives of various federal ministries, they are working on solutions.